State, donors to spend Sh5b on malaria drive
By ELIZABETH MWAI
About 22 million Kenyans are targeted to receive insecticide treated nets to fight malaria in the next six months.
This is double the population that has been receiving nets in the past years after the Government included adults for the first time.
Dr Elizabeth Juma, the head of Malaria Division, disclosed yesterday that the purchase and distribution of nets in the malaria hotspots is expected to cost Sh5 billion.
"We already have a bunch of nets that have arrived while some are being bought, but our plan is to start the mass distribution early next month," said the official.
Speaking to The Standard, Juma said among the areas they had identified as most at risk include Western, Nyanza, Coast and Rift Valley.
She disclosed that five million nets have arrived in the country so far with the remainder expected to arrive soon. However, Juma said there was a gap of 900,000 nets, which they were hoping to bridge once the distribution gets underway.
"This is not a big problem for us since it will be resolved through the rationale we will use in the distribution exercise," she said.
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The malaria expert said while in the past their target was to reach children and pregnant mothers who are most vulnerable, studies have shown that adults were also at risk of the killer disease.
She said Global Fund, World Bank, World Vision, DfID and President Malaria Initiative Programme would provide the funds for the project.
Use of insecticide treated nets in Kenya led to the reduction of malaria transmission by 44 per cent.
This has seen an estimated 15 million nets distributed between 2001 and 2009.
Kenya loses 34,000 lives annually to malaria with half of the deaths being those of children.
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